Apple releases iTunes Match to UK, Europe users

iTunes Match is (finally) available outside the U.S., including the UK and mainland Europe. It's time to get your music matched.

Apple last night rolled out iTunes Match to UK users of iTunes, following an initial 24 hours of confusion, where some users were able to access the service temporarily before today's rollout.

iTunes users in Canada, France, Ireland, Spain, Australia and New Zealand are also open to use the service.

iTunes Match is now available as a long-awaited addition to the music software, allowing users to access better quality music from their existing music collection.

Users can get started by going to the 'iTunes Match' link in the iTunes Store, if the sidebar label is not yet active.

(Source: Apple/CNET)

iTunes Match takes your CD-quality music tracks, or illegally downloaded MP3s, and 'matches' them with the same song of better quality in the iTunes Store. If it finds a match of better quality, it will your old copy with a high-quality 256-kbps license-free into iTunes.

Users can then stream the content -- stored in iCloud -- to other iOS devices, Apple TV, and other computers in the house, running both Windows and Mac.

While U.S. users had been able to use the service for over a month, international launches were slated for at least next year.

The service appeared briefly to users in the UK and France, and was reportedly seen in Australia on Wednesday, before access was restricted and the tab disappeared.

Some users were issued an immediate refund shortly after they signed up.

It was thought that Apple would need to work with UK music coalitions and sign agreements before artists' music would be uploaded to the cloud, and matched using the new service.

The service costs £21.99 per year, which is not a bad price to pay to ‘legitimise’ your pirate music collection.